A Greek court has charged 64 people including 13 Germans with bribery involving Siemens AG - Germany's and Europe's biggest industrial giant.
An investigation covering the period from 1992 to 2006 allegedly found that Greece had incurred losses of about €70m on the sale of telecom equipment from Siemens to Hellenic Telecommunications, a phone company that is also known as OTE.
The company was owned by the Greek state in that period.
Deutsche Welle, the German broadcaster, says that the suspects, including 13 German nationals, are former Siemens and OTE officials, as well as the ex-treasurer of PASOK, Greece's former socialist governing party. The charges relate to "money laundering" and "active and passive bribery."
In November 2014, Greece's financial prosecutor filed charges against the 64 suspects, sending his 2,368-page report to a council of judges to decide whether the suspects should stand trial over what was termed "Contract 8002," which was meant to digitize OTE's telecom network.
DW says that according to the news site Greek Reporter, 19 of those charged are Siemens executive officials, 14 are OTE executive officials, and eight are employees of the consultancy company involved. The other 23 are all from companies that handled money from Siemens' "black funds."
Theodoros Tsoukatos, former consultant to Kostas Simitis, ex-Greek prime minister, is on the list of suspects while PASOK's ex-transport minister Tasos Mantelis, was handed a three-year suspended sentence in 2011 after he admitted to accepting 450,000 deutschmarks (€230,000) from Siemens between 1998 and 2000.
The Wall Street Journal says Greece has claimed that bribes paid by Siemens executives to various Greek officials from the 1990s to 2007 have cost taxpayers €2bn.
The New York Times reported in 2008 that Siemens would "pay more than $2.6bn to clear its name: $1.6bn in fines and fees in Germany and the United States and more than $1bn for internal investigations and reforms."
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